The 2021 Dale E. Bauman Lecture - Catharine Ross, Ph.D. - Nutrition and Immunity against Infectious Diseases — Through the Lens of Vitamin A
From Erin Atkins
A. Catharine Ross, Ph.D.
Professor of Nutrition and Physiology
Dorothy Foehr Huck Chair
Head, Department of Nutritional Sciences
The Pennsylvania State University
Dr. Catharine Ross received her undergraduate education at the University of California at Davis (Zoology, 1970), and masters (MNS, nutrition, 1972) and Ph.D. (Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology, 1976) from Cornell University. Following a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Medicine, Columbia University (1976-78) she taught and conducted research at the Medical College of Pennsylvania until 1994 when she joined the Pennsylvania State University as Professor of Nutrition and Physiology and occupant of the Dorothy Foehr Huck Chair. She currently serves as head of the Department of Nutritional Sciences.
Her research has focused on vitamin A nutrition and lipid and lipoprotein metabolism, and on the role of micronutrient nutrition in immune function. She served for 10 years as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Nutrition and currently serves on the Editorial Board for Nutrients. She is a Fellow of the American Society for the Advancement of Science, the American Society for Nutritional Sciences, and a member of the National Academy of Science. She has served on numerous NIH and USDA study sections, Academy panels. Currently, she is serving on a congressionally-mandated NASEM committee, “Evaluating the Process to Develop the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025.”
Nutrition and infection have been studied for over a century, yet even now there is much still to be learned. What is becoming clear is that micronutrients, such as vitamin A, play multiple roles both in protective mucosal immunity and barrier functions and in the acute response to infection. Recent research has revealed novel mechanisms, several involving mucosal immunity and host-microbiome interactions. This lecture, focusing on examples from vitamin A research, will bring to the fore several of the fascinating ways that micronutrients contribute to host defense against infectious diseases.